All my life I have been a dreamer. As a child I was teased as being to much of dreamer, or living a in a fantasy world. But then in my mid-20's I was labeled a, "VISIONARY DREAMER and LEADER". Rather than being laughed at, I was now elevated to a place a respect, and even valued and needed. Today, more than ever we need men and women to dream big dreams, and share them. We need leaders to begin seeing into the future, and lead the rest of us into some new, fresh, and amazing. What does it take to actually be a visionary dreamer an leader? Here are several practical pieces of being a visionary dreamer.
5 Traits of Visionary Dreamer Leader
1. Dream BHAG
If you are going to dream and lead people on a great adventure, have it be a worthy adventure to invest in. Have it be a BHAG = Big Hairy Audacious Goal. If you are going to look like a fool, you might as well look like a big fool. It has been proven the larger the dream, the further people will go and invest with you to see the dream become a reality.
2. Set aside time to dream
One of the hardest things I have ever had to learn is that it is ok to nothing else but a dream. Not just a bedtime, but rather in the middle of the day or week. Block out time to "disappear" and not be disturbed so that you can dream, see, taste, feel, and flesh out some of the BHAG. Once I embraced this idea, it was as if my dreams got clearly, sharper and it gave me fuel for boring or predictable things I had to do as a leader. Make the time, block it out, and perhaps find a place to go and escape to that helps you dream. Recently, I took a 7-mile hike with a friend and much of that walk was spent walk, talking and exploring her dream for her business. Interesting enough, that dream walk has inspired more on-going talks on the subject, which are only helping to sharpen the dream.
3. Be comfortable with the unknown
Many dreams will tell you that they have a dream, but not all the answers. Dreams often see the end, random pieces of the puzzle, but not the in-between pieces. This is where you will be labeled crazy if you try to advance. You must learn to accept the crazy to get to the dream. Walt Disney is quoted as saying, "I love to the impossible." This from a man that secretly bought acres and acres of swampland with dreams of creating an amusement park that would attract people from all over the world. Swamp into a magic kingdom. Now that's nuts, and no he did not have all the plans in place before he bought the land. He saw a future and stepped into the great unknown.
As a child, I can remember my dad playing the Ed Ames song, "Dream the Impossible Dream." That song always inspired me and stuck with me. Little did I know as a young child it was from, "Man From La Mancha." I just knew it held a powerful truth.
4. See failure, not as a failure
He is a big point, you will have failures and setbacks as you step out and into your, "impossible dream". NASA has, political leaders, have, church ministries have, countless fortune 500 companies have, and yet they have seen the dreams become a reality. Failure does not have to stop you, rather it can be the greatest teacher. See failure as part of the laboratory of life experience. Dreamers are pioneers and therefore you must try, experiment, evaluate, regroup, and try again. NASA did not successfully launch the first rocket or space shuttle. NASA has blown many rockets, and "lost" landers and machinery on Mars and long space exploration. And yet they continue to learn, adapt, and press on with the larger vision and goal. Embrace failure, even celebrate it, you will be much healthier and balanced for it,
5. Celebrate the wins
No matter if its the completion of the BHAG, or a small step in the larger process...celebrate along the way. Visionary leaders must recognize and model to their how completing the BHAG is only part of the joy. Joy in the journey, advancement, breakthroughs, and personal achievements is just as important. Plus the more you find to celebrate landmarks along the way, the more energized and valued your team or organization will feel. It's a marathon, not a race...celebrate the progress.
Rich "Trigger" Bontrager is a motivational speaker, leadership coach, broadcaster, Pastor and UNOS Ambassador on a mission to help you, "DEFY THE ODDS in life, leadership & public speaking. You can reach Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org